What Would You Pay for Good Health

 

Being in Good Health versus Bad Health Two Blue Road Sign with text Good Health and Bad Health with sky background 3D Illustration

Not long ago I was asked to give a presentation on any topic I wanted to a panel of interviewers at a national health care company as part of the interview process for a position I was keenly interested in. Having not read the informational email thoroughly in advance of the interview I realized the expectation exactly one hour prior. The email had requested that I send any corresponding power points at least one day in advance. Seeing as I was exactly one hour out this was clearly not an option. So after a brief panic stricken moment I cobbled together a few seminars I had taught in the past and settled on the topic of the Value of Health. With a one page 5 bullet point outline and no handouts I was on my way. A ballsy move for sure I was later told-lecturing a large health insurance company on the value of health-who does that? BUT it was a topic I was massively passionate about and believed with every fiber of my being they were doing all wrong.

How much would you pay for health? I asked. “How much money would you pay to ensure you had great health to live the life you want”. One million dollars I asked? Can you afford the health that you want? Does your health afford you the life you want to live?  Would be willing to make 2 small changes in order to answer yes to all these questions I asked. No one answered-Just six pairs of eyes staring straight at me while eating their lunches of diet coke and pretzels. Not possible someone finally said. Then I asked, what if I told you I could guarantee you great health and it was available to everyone-Would you be interested? Not particularly lucrative for an insurer but everyone was interested just the same.

The cold hard truth that the consumer or average American fails to realize or perhaps acknowledge is that health insurance isn’t about health or medical care, its also not about the consumer- its about insurance. Much like insuring a car or driver or a boat, insurance companies are trying to hedge their bets on sick people. The medical industry isn’t about health either by the way. The medical field is about curing disease and there are lots of tests and medications they can offer to treat disease and they would be happy to order them for you if allowed by the insurance company. Health is something entirely different and I often ask myself do people really want to be healthy? Have we become so reliant on physicians and insurance that we believe our health is not our problem but rather someone else’s? 

Today nearly 45 % of Americans suffer from chronic disease. What is Chronic Disease? The 5 major forms of chronic disease include: 

  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer 
  • Stroke
  • COPD 
  • Diabetes (aver $7900 per year per person)

Let’s not forget 

  • Obesity- Only recently formally labeled as a disease

All of these are largely preventable and entirely within our own control if we own our health and make three small changes.

We as American’s bitch and complain that our insurance is not affordable, the cost of medical care is crazy expensive and we wine on and on about the need for health care reform. News Flash folks, if you were healthy, you really wouldn’t need expensive medical care less extreme and or emergency situations. You would be cycling a century or climbing the Eiffel tower with your grand child or just walking around the block without being winded. Health is SEXY People and everyone can have it regardless of your lot in life.

What is Health and how to get healthy is all over the news, there are literally 1000’s of books all about how to be healthy, skinny, diet, get strong, get fit, eat, live longer, live happier etc…. But people don’t seem to want to do the work. OR do they? It appears that the vast majority of Americans have adopted the belief that someone else knows more about their health and what is going on in their bodies than they do. As amazing as many physicians out there are, there are limits to what they know. How do I know this… I was reading one of my nutrition texts not long ago on a topic related to anatomy and neurons and one paragraph in the text ended with and I quote “after that we just don’t know why it does what it does.” WTF!

BUT if you are ready to be crazy sexy healthy and live your fullest and best life, making small changes in the following 3 areas will guarantee it:

  1. Know and own your health! NO one and I mean no one knows your body better than you. If you have a weird scratch in your throat, if your poop suddenly changes in color or frequency or texture, if your stomach just feels off then something is no matter what your doctor says. Be your own Advocate
  1. Diet: The standard American diet is horrendous. As Americans we vastly over consume and are largely undernourished. Remember these three things and your world will change for sure!
    • Carbohydrates are good for you: if it grows in the ground or comes form a tree its a complex carbohydrate, the more color the better- EAT IT!
    • Fat is your friend: we need fat to burn fat, we need fat for brain function. EAT HEALTHY FAT!
    • Protein is the key to life: Eggs won’t kill you but not eating them might. EAT PROTEIN
  1. Lifestyle: 
    • We consume through all 5 senses so who we surround ourselves with, listen too, watch, look at all impact our stress and livelihood.
    • Move: the less we move, the more we hurt- We gain weight, develop anxiety, heart disease, stress, high cholesterol
    • Relax: Whatever that means to you-I Love to cook or take my dog on a walk. What do you enjoy? DO IT REGULARLY!
    • Meditate or Dance: Anyone can meditate it is as simple as sitting quietly for 30 seconds or longer. That is all no yoga pants required.

How much money would it take for you to choose illness over health? Is there any amount of money that would compel you to welcome being miserable unhappy and in pain? If there isn’t why does 45% of the population choose it for free? There is no secret to great health, it is available for everyone and it doesn’t require fancy insurance. On that day of my interview I spoke for roughly 45 minutes, delivering what was surely one of the best presentations of my life to date, culminating in an unexpected round of applause. The group manager pulled me aside after the presentation to discuss the opportunity further but not before stating that she initially had been rather concerned that I didn’t have a power point to share but had been so completely captivated by what I was saying she wouldn’t have taken her eyes of me even if there was one. She went on to say it was likely the best presentation she had ever seen in her entire career. I thanked her, truly grateful for the opportunity and for the unexpected accolades  and left only to never have heard back from them. 

It clearly wasn’t meant to be and that was ok. But what I took away from the experience was huge. Healthy people aren’t profitable. But for the consumer, health is.

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